So, Sew It
If you are looking for sewn-finishing options, you have two choices -- machine sewing or hand sewing. Let's take a look at a few tips that will keep things moving along for you as you tackle the finishing.
- Sewing machine: For most needlework projects, a basic sewing machine is really all that is required for finishing a project. Make sure the following things are in order before you begin:
- The machine is clean. Sewing machines, like other appliances, can get dusty and dirty over time. Before putting your stitching project on the sewing machine, take a minute to dust the machine and make sure nothing is going to ruin your work. Another tip: I always stitch on a scrap piece of fabric before putting my needlework in the machine. I stitch about 3 inches forward and about 1 inch back just to make sure that my bobbin is working correctly and that any dirt or grime comes off on my scrap fabric instead of my stitched piece.
- Use good-quality sewing thread. It takes so little thread to finish most needlework projects, so do yourself a favor and splurge on the good stuff. And pay attention to how your machine handles threads -- some machines like certain brands better than others.
- Pick appropriate colors. You should always pick a color that matches your linen or the colors used in the projects. When in doubt, my granny always suggested that you use a shade lighter thread instead of the darker shade. If you're going for a funky style of finishing, try a contrasting-color thread; it might just give you the edge you're looking for in your project.
- Always, always, always have a spare needle and bobbin. This really needs no further explanation; just trust me on this one.
- If you're planning to do a lot of pillows, invest in a zipper-foot attachment if your machine doesn't already have one. It eliminates some of the stress in adding cord around your pillow edges.
- Hand sewing: As much as I love my little sewing machine, there are times when only a hand-sewing needle will work for a project. It might take a little longer, but the results are definitely worth it.
- Use a sharp sewing needle when finishing a project. If you're not used to sewing with a sharp needle, a thimble might be a good companion as well. Either way, your finishing will be much cleaner and tighter if you use a sharp sewing needle instead of an embroidery needle.
- As with a sewing machine, make sure your needle is clean. Also, examine it carefully to make sure it has no rough edges or barbs on it; these can easily damage your linen or stitching fabric in only a stitch or two.
- Use a good-quality sewing thread in an appropriate color. If you're sewing on a small (needle book, etc.), you can also use the same floss you used for stitching or a coordinating color of floss (silk or cotton).
- And again, always, always, always have a spare needle!